What will Apple bring us this year? New iPods? Two tablets?

Could Steve Jobs return to the stage? If so, what would he bring with him?

The weeks before an Apple press conference can feel a bit like the holiday season. As the days tick away until this year's rumored September 9 keynote, eager Apple enthusiasts draft their wish lists – and tech news reports always make it easy for them to dream big. So what will Santa Jobs bring good little fanboys this year?

Tablet computer? The Financial Times reports that an iTablet could hit in September and feature “new services such as interactive booklets and liner notes” as a way to reinvigorate music album sales. And an online survey by book retailer Borders refers directly to an “Apple iPAD (large-screen reading device)” as if the gadget already existed. The company won’t say if this is simply forecasting, based on insider information, or just them having a bit of fun.

Of course, just as the tablet rumors sounded more and more credible, new articles says we shouldn't expect such a gizmo until 2010.

Two tablets? Business Week came out on Monday with word of not one but two tablet computers.

"There's no hotter topic [than tablets] in Asia right now," says Richard Doherty, a director at market researcher Envisioneering Group, who says Apple has developed prototypes of two different tablet machines—one that resembles a large-sized iPod and boasts a 6-inch screen, and another that features a larger display. Apple may launch one or both devices as early as September, Doherty says.

New iPods? This seems to be the safest bet. PC World snagged images of an iPod Touch that has a newly added camera. "Apple also has a new competitor in the Zune HD, so a price drop would be important and could stop the Zune from taking even a small chunk out of Apple's business," the website writes. "There's also a rumor that the iPod Touch could be getting a 2MP or 3MP camera; a great feature the Zune HD doesn't have."

The iPod could use a facelift, according to Forbes:

Net sales [of iPods] are already down 11% to $1.5 billion for the quarter ended June from $1.7 billion during the year-ago period. Unit sales are down 7% to $10.2 million from $11.0 million over that same period. Net sales per iPod unit sales are down 4% to $146 to $152.

Verizon iPhone? Many have forgotten the reports in April that Apple was flirting with Verizon. Some said to expect an iPhone on the new carrier, others pointed to a larger device – perhaps the iTablet?

Steve Jobs on stage? CNBC reporter Jim Goldman Tweeted that "Jobs' return to the stage VERY LIKELY at the $AAPL event."


What do you expect? Let us know below, or follow us on Twitter and join the conversation there.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.